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How do fashion designers bring the latest trends on display at the likes of the Paris Fashion Week to the masses? This work belongs to the world of apparel manufacturers and retailers who, with an eye to the cat walks, refashion the latest colors, cuts, and fabrics to deliver the designs at a variety of price points.

  • The famous luxury brand Christian Dior, which has been the top accessories retailer in the Forbes World’s Biggest Public Companies list since 2011, is also the leading apparel retailer of 2017 based on current revenue.
  • Nike has held the second position by operating revenue over the same time period while edging out all others based on profit. Nike is the most valuable brand among apparel companies worldwide.
  • Inditex, better known by its subsidiaries Zara, Zara Home, Massimo Dutti, Bershka, Oysho, Pull and Bear, Stradivarius and Uterqüe, is the world's 4th largest apparel retailer after 3rd ranked TJX Cos, the US-based off-price apparel and home fashion retailer.  
  • Not all well-known luxury brands make the top cut by revenue. Kering is a global luxury group, which includes well-known labels such as Gucci, Saint Laurent, and Alexander McQueen, among others, but its sales lag behind more mainstream apparel retailers such as Adidas.

While you may not typically consider apparel retailers along with pharmaceutical companies, software developers or automobile manufacturers when it comes to innovation, Forbes World’s Most Innovative Companies includes several apparel designers. Forbes ranks companies based on their innovation premium, that is the share of a company's stock price above the value of its existing business based on expectations of future innovative results.

  • In 2016, the highest innovation premium belonged to Fast Retailing, which was followed by Inditex and H&M, a major apparel retailer with 4,531 stores worldwide as of 2016.
  • Fast Retailing is also well known because its founder, Tadashi Yanai, is the richest man in the retail apparel industry, with a net worth of $15.9 billion in 2017. Forbes ranks Yanai 60th in its list of the World’s Billionaires.

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